State and county lawmakers have passed legislation to combat illegal school bus passings, from increasing fines to adopting stop-arm cameras. Photo by Lois Cordes

State and county lawmakers have passed legislation to combat illegal school bus passings, from increasing fines to adopting stop-arm cameras. Photo by Lois Cordes

CENTREVILLE, Md. — State and county lawmakers here recently approved legislation to combat illegal school bus passing.

Ordinance 19-09, which was approved in a unanimous vote by Queen Anne's County's board of commissioners on July 9, will allow the county's board of education to use school bus video surveillance cameras to capture stop-arm violations and allow law enforcement officials to issue fines, consistent with state law, to offending motorists.

Wendy Hampton, a bus driver for local transportation company L&S Bus Service Inc., told the commission during a public hearing meeting posted on the commissioner's website last month, that motorists often pass her school bus when her bus’s lights are flashing.

“Some of the bus drivers don’t even call it in anymore because they say nothing is being done,” Hampton said. “I’m a bus driver in Centreville, [and] very seldom does the day go by that [motorists] don’t run my lights. A lot of times they’re running my lights because they’re texting.”

Prior to the commission’s decision, on May 13, Gov. Larry Hogan signed SB464 (HB0343) into law, increasing the fine for passing a stopped school bus with its lights flashing from $250 to $500. The state law went into effect on June 1.

Ordinance 19-09 is expected to take effect on Aug. 24.

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